Maybe it’s just me, but 2009 was a difficult year. I am not sad to see it go away and be logged into the history books. As I have reviewed this past year, I have noticed that so many of my posts have been directly related to the things that I was experiencing or thinking about at the time. I have never written a post to get or gain attention. I write to clear my head and it relaxes me. With that in mind, I have attached links to previous posts to the various experiences I have encountered this past year. Please feel free to click on them and re-read some of my favorite posts of 2009.
It has been a year where I have had to deal with some serious health issues. A few surgeries later, I am in still in recovery mode, trying to deal with the results of the operations. Sometimes the cure is worse than the problem. More importantly, this year was a time when I had to endure the loss of the two of the closest friends I have ever had on this earth.
Within a short span of three months, I lost Bob Emrich and Bryan Blakely. Bryan was my closest childhood friend growing up in Oak Harbor, Ohio. There wasn’t much that happened to either of us from the time we were 6 to 18 that we were not involved in together. As life happens to all of us, after high school we went our separate ways. We always stayed in touch but we both lived in different parts of the country and we were on different paths. However, Bryan was part of a foundation in my life and when we were able to get together over the years, it was just like old times. Thirty years may have passed but it would only be a few moments and we were just like we were when we were 18. Good times. He was taken way too soon.
Bob was my mentor and he was the one person that could always point me in the right direction. He was an example to me of what it means to live a life that would bring honor to his family and to his God. He showed me how to truly live as Christian in this world. He taught me more about God’s grace than any preacher that I have ever heard. No, he was not perfect but he was a perfect example of what God can do in a person’s life if they allow Him to work in their life. Bob wasn’t a preacher but a truck driver. I cannot tell you how many times I would call him and he would be winding his way through the mountains of Tennessee or making his way through the corn fields of Iowa. He always made time for me and always had a good word to say. I still cannot bring myself to delete his phone number off my phone.
Performing the eulogy at their funerals was the most difficult thing that I have ever done. I cannot express to you how much I miss them.
This year was also a time where I had to deal with some major health issues. Without boring you with the details, I had to have two operations. The second surgery was much more serious than I was really prepared for and I am still dealing with the results of the operation. Those results have hindered my ability to write and to do many of the things I did and enjoyed so easily in 2008.
For example, I have completely lost hearing in my left ear and have a 60% loss in my right. I am on the fast track in becoming deaf. Anyone who knows me, knows that I love music. It is something that I have enjoyed my whole life and it is slowly being taken from me. I have also lost most of my ability to taste food. Most of my tongue is numb and I have limited ability to even taste what I am eating or drinking. Finally, my right hand is still asleep. This hinders my ability to write and typing is much harder than ever before. The doctor says that while there is no chance that my hearing will come back, I may experience some improvement with some of the other issues. So, while I am waiting to recover from this surgery, I am trying to do what my friend Bob would have done. He would have called me to talk about the things we were thankful for in spite of the circumstances that we are in.
In honoring his life, I am trying to put into practice what he would have done. In that process, I realize that I am extremely thankful for many things in my life, in spite of the difficulty of this past year. One thing in particular that I am thankful for in 2009 is this blog. Over the year, I have had over 150,000 visitors. Now I know not all of them read my blog and some visit my blog just to read what new ridiculous and stupid thing comes out of my mouth and spills out onto these pages. Like I always say, I love to write…I never said I write well.
One post that went viral this year was a post about things I am thankful for called “A Few of My Favorite Things… . This post has by far has been my most popular post with over 20,000 hits and still growing. I wrote that after my first surgery and just posted a few of my favorite things and things I was I was thankful for. I would like to update it and add to those things and really be thankful for what God has allowed for me to be a part of in 2009.
So here are a few of my favorite things to be thankful for 2009…
- I am thankful for my lovely wife Pam, who always believes in me and allows me to be me. She is wonderful, beautiful, my favorite and my best friend. She is and will always be “My Exception”.
- I am thankful for my children, Crystal, Nathan, Adam and Cassidy. I love them unreservedly and they bring me more joy than I could ever express.
- My Mom. I am without question the biggest “momma’s boy” ever.
- My Dad. Thank you for showing me, by example, what it meant to take care of your family and the importance of having a good work ethic. When the bell rang you answered and went to work.
- My Grandfather, James Russel Lee, the only real hero I’ve ever known.
- I am thankful for Clay, my son-in-law. Not just because he loves my daughter and treats her well but because he is my friend and he loves the Lord with his whole heart.
- I am thankful for my in-laws. Hands down the best ever.
- My Brother and Sister in Law. Mark and Lynn have been there for me and have supported me and will always be the one I turn to in difficult times.
- Luke, Leisha and Colton, my favorites…I always will be there for them.
- I love to listen to Cassidy sing, I will always be thankful for that.
- I love it and am thankful when my kids call just to say Hello.
- I am thankful that I am not the man I was 20 years ago. I am more than I have been.
- I am thankful that God is still working to make me a better person.
- I am thankful for good parents who told me “NO” sometimes.
- I am thankful for family and friends that have stuck by me when others walked away.
- I am thankful for God’s grace. I am a really, really, really big fan of it!!!
- I am thankful for the Salvation I found in Jesus Christ. I am thankful that He never gives up on me, even when I fail.
- I am thankful that I have a whole new day stretched ahead of me with its new opportunities and blessings, with my family and my friends and my God. I am thankful that I am forgiven and clean and that God stretched his love out towards me and rescued me from sin and separation from Him and brought me into His family.
- I am thankful for my church and a Pastor who pursues God and His ways. He always presents God’s message with love and encouragement.
- I am thankful that I have a Bible – that I can read the promises of God and discover who He is and His great love for me.
- I am thankful for music and worship that draws our heart towards God.
- I am also thankful when I get to see people come to know Christ – there is nothing like it in the world.
And finally, in no particular order, here are a few of the maybe or maybe not so important things to be thankful for…
- I am thankful for a morning cup of coffee.
- Dark Chocolate – MMMMmmm chocolate.
- Fall – the best season. (the best weather, colors and the smells of the year)
- Air Conditioning.
- Harold “Mac Attack” McGilton – #81 My favorite Race car driver.
- A nice Writing Pen (Black Ink only).
- The Music of the Beatles.
- Bernie Lutz – A teacher that inspired others to be more than average.
- Cleveland Browns / Cleveland Indians (even though they frustrate me to death).
- One victory over the Steeler’s every six years.
- Paul McCartney.
- A Good Working Water Heater.
- Remote Controls.
- A comfortable Chair.
- The Tom Hank’s movie “That Thing You Do” (never get tired of watching it).
- A glass of Cold Milk.
- My MDR-NC7 Sony Headphones.
- Being Young and in Love (Young Love)
- Golden Dragon Chinese Restaurant (Fremont, Ohio).
- A good Pillow.
- The ability to turn right on red.
- Christmas Morning.
- Diet Pepsi.
- My 1976 Ford Pinto (if that car could talk).
- A Three Dollar Box of Chocolates and the Valentines dance of 1975.
- Eisley and Rooney (My granddogs).
- High Speed Internet Access.
- Parking spaces near the front entrance.
- Jerry Falwell and Liberty University.
- FACEBOOK and re-connecting with old friends.
- MVP Baseball 2003 – My favorite PS2 game.
- Indoor Plumbing.
- Aretha Franklin.
- Growing Up in a Small Town.
- The State Highway Patrol Officer that showed me a little grace one day.
- My Ipod (8,456 songs on it and still growing).
- The Ability to Give Back.
- Caller ID.
- Motown Music (The Temptations, The Four Tops, Marvin Gaye, etc.).
- The arrows that show you which way to insert the batteries.
- Ronald Reagan.
- A clean blank sheet of paper.
- Re-runs of Tommy Boy on TBS.
- You Tube.
- Little League Baseball.
- Chili from Wendy’s.
- The Whopper from Burger King.
- The acting ability of Tom Hanks.
- Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers.
- Randy Pausch and his “Last Lecture”
- A good Steak.
- Blogging and Writing.
- The delete button on the keyboard and white out for paper.
- Childhood Memories.
- Sarah Palin.
- Ohio State Football.
- Teagarden’s Swimming Pool.
- The number 22.
So there you have it… a list of a few of my favorite things I am thankful for in my life. No, the list is not complete and I am sure that there are more things I am thankful for if I would sit and think for a few minutes. However, that is for another time.
In closing, I will not be sad to see 2009 go away. I am looking forward to what God has in store for me in 2010. The slate is clean and anything is possible.
I will not be surprised by anything that may happen…but then again, maybe it’s just me.